December 9, 2020: Before sunrise the Crescent is near the star Gamma Virginis while brilliant Venus is low in the southeast. In three mornings, a thin moon joins Venus before sunrise.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:07 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:20 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Before sunrise the crescent moon is about halfway up in the sky in the south-southeastern sky. It is among the stars of Virgo, near Gamma Virginis (γ Vir on the chart). The moon is 33% illuminated. Tomorrow morning, the moon is near Spica.
Venus is lower in the southeastern sky among the stars of Libra.
On December 12, the thin crescent moon is above Venus. The pair should inspire photographers and artists.
Reflected sunlight from Earth’s features gently illuminates the night portion of the moon. This is known as earthshine.
The earthshine effect can be seen with a binocular or small telescope. Get ready for the scene that occurs in a few mornings to capture the scene in a creative way.
The photo above from earlier during 2020 displays the earthshine effect.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (24.3d, 33%) is over halfway up in the sky in the south-southeast. It is 3.3° to the upper right of Gamma Virginis (γ Vir, m = 3.4). Venus is lower in the southeast, about 11° in altitude. It is 3.4° to the upper left of ι Lib.
Read more about the planets during December.
February 28, 2023: One night before their close conjunction, Venus approaches Jupiter in the west-southwest after sundown. The moon is near the horns of Taurus with Mars nearby.Keep reading
February 27, 2023: Brilliant Venus approaches Jupiter, two nights before their conjunction. The moon passes close to Mars near midnight.Keep reading
February 26, 2023: As the Venus-Jupiter conjunction nears, the two planets are close in the west-southwest after sundown. The moon is near the Pleiades star cluster during the evening.Keep reading